Low Testosterone is a common condition that causes many different physiological changes in men, like fatigue, low libido, and decreased muscle mass. As we age, our production of vital hormones wanes. This happens in a period known as andropause: a stage in an older man’s life where his hormones fluctuate, causing testosterone levels to go down. Men going through andropause experience Low Testosterone levels that throw various body functions and systems out of sync and decrease their overall quality of life. To restore testosterone levels, our team at Houston Weight Loss & Low T guides patients through Low T diagnosis and treatment to safely raise testosterone back to healthy levels.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Before you come to have your testosterone levels tested, think back to how you felt in your late twenties. Nobody feels the same as their twenty-six-year-old selves, but it is important to note the changes. While not all these differences are hormone-related, most are, and most can be treated with testosterone supplementation. Many of our clients exhibit the same common symptoms of low testosterone.
Low Libido & Erectile Dysfunction
With the loss of readily available testosterone, a man slowly sees a steady decline in his sexual health and function. By fifty years old, approximately 50% of men experience some sort of erectile dysfunction that includes an inability to have or maintain an erection and premature or prolonged ejaculation. Erectile dysfunction can lead to strain on a man’s interpersonal relationships, self-confidence, and tends to lead to bedroom anxiety, which only furthers the effects of the condition. A man’s reproductive system relies heavily on both physical and psychological factors. When these factors are thrown off balance by insufficient testosterone supply, they can lower sex drive and hurt his erectile strength. When left untreated, erectile dysfunction and low libido only worsen with age.
Leading a healthy, active life is important for both our physical and mental health. But, with declining testosterone levels, fatigue can easily set in. This is because our endocrine system helps regulate our metabolism and our body’s energy expenditure. By modulating the levels of each of our hormones, our endocrine system can supply our body with the necessary agents to continue leading a healthy, active life. But as our endocrine system weakens, our body loses its ability to keep us alert, awake, and refreshed. Typically, Low Testosterone levels result in poor, restless sleep, which enhances symptoms of fatigue exponentially. Even with a proper diet and vitamin supplements, fatigue is a negative feedback loop that gradually causes other symptoms of Low Testosterone, including decrease muscle and increased fat.
Decreased Muscle Strength/Size
With low energy, your daily activity levels may wane. In the past, it might have been easier to work out consistently. Waking up early to the gym, or going to the gym after work, might have been second nature in your twenties, but now the idea seems unfathomable. Lack of exercise will cause decrease in muscle strength and muscle atrophy. It is also known that testosterone has a direct anabolic effect on muscles. With Low Testosterone, muscles do not respond to exercise normally. Because of this, men often see a significant, gradual loss of muscle mass as they near fifty years of age. Past the age of fifty, it becomes more difficult to gain any new muscle mass, let alone retain existing muscles.
Increased Body Fat/Weight
Decreased energy levels can eventually lead to chronic inactivity, which commonly leads to weight gain. As we get older, it becomes harder to control the number we see on the scale. Fat begins to stick to our bodies and becomes increasingly difficult to shed. Most men will notice an increase in body fat percentage with age, but with low testosterone this age-related increase in fat to muscle ratio is accelerated. Low T patients often complain of increasing visceral fat. This is the fat that accumulates inside of the abdominal cavity, causing the “beer belly” look.
Effects on Mental Health
Our endocrine system plays a vital role in our mental health. When we are stressed, our endocrine system releases cortisol to help regulate our body’s physiological response to external stimuli to keep our body in homeostasis. But when our hormones are imbalanced, our body’s response to things like depression, anxiety, and stress becomes more pronounced. So, as we age, we might start to notice increased stress levels, chronic depression and anxiety, and a loss of focus. Other side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and poor sexual performance only cause additional stress to our declining testosterone supply.
Causes of Low Testosterone in Men
The most common cause of Low Testosterone in the men we treat is simply “age related” Low Testosterone. Around the age of 30 testosterone levels in men begin to decline at a rate of about 1% per year. For some men this slow decline causes little to no problems, however for many, they notice a decrease in sex drive and erectile function which can even affect their relationships. Men often notice a decrease in the frequency of spontaneous erections.
In addition to age, other common causes of Low Testosterone in men include obesity, metabolic syndrome, testicular trauma, cancer, and certain medications. Less common causes of Low T include pituitary disorders and genetic disorders such as Klinefelter and Noonan Syndrome.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Low Testosterone
Testosterone levels can be checked with a simple blood test. However, Low Testosterone is a clinical diagnosis. This means that a physician will not only want to check the testosterone levels in your blood, but also take a detailed medical history to see if you are exhibiting symptoms of Low T. A diagnosis is made when you have both low blood levels of testosterone and primary symptoms of Low T such as low libido, erectile dysfunction, or low energy. If you are diagnosed with Low T, it can be easily treated with Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
At Houston Weight Loss & Low T, we currently offer free, no obligation, testosterone testing. Contact us today to schedule your free test.